MEXICO CITY — The latest round of NAFTA negotiations has wrapped up with the three countries saying they’ve managed to make some progress.The three lead ministers told a closing news conference in Mexico City that they’re still aiming to get a deal by year’s end.U.S. trade czar Robert Lighthizer, who says two dozen chapter texts have been tabled, is also thanking his North American neighbours for their thoughts in the wake of a devastating hurricane in Texas and Louisiana.Lighthizer, who reiterated some of his tough-talk remarks from the opening round, nonetheless struck a less aggressive tone.The agreements reached so far relate to less-controversial parts of the agreement.Multiple sources say the countries have not even begun dealing with the more complex elements — and that any attempts to raise a contentious issue have been brushed off by the other parties.That’s true of Canadian proposals like some labour reforms that have been declared a non-starter by the U.S.It’s also true of the U.S. desire to secure more dairy sales in Canada. The U.S. tried informally starting the conversation, and sources say Canada pushed it off.The next round of talks is scheduled to take place in Ottawa Sept. 23-27.
PIKEVILLE, Ky. — Another Kentucky coal producer has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.The Lexington Herald-Leader reports Cambrian Coal LLC plans to auction off most of its assets next month, if it gains court approval.Nearly 700 people are employed by Cambrian at three major mining operations in eastern Kentucky and Virginia.Court documents show the company’s president Mark Campbell says the bankruptcy is mostly due to Cambrian buying assets from other coal companies and a decline in the coal industry. Cambrian CEO Jim Booth resigned about two weeks before the bankruptcy filing.Blackjewel LLC filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection July 1 . A federal judge on Tuesday approved Contura Energy’s bid for three mines Blackjewel owned. The federal government still has to approve the deal.___Information from: Lexington Herald-Leader, http://www.kentucky.comThe Associated Press
A first mission visited Baghdad from 15 to 20 May after reports of massive looting at Baghdad’s museum and focused on questions related to the theft of cultural objects, the preparation of an inventory for the museum and the fine-tuning of an action plan aimed at restoring the principal cultural institutions of the city. It found that the looting had been less extensive than first thought. The new mission, scheduled to last a week, has been organized in close cooperation with the United States Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) and has received the personal support of Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s Special Representative for Iraq, Sergio Vieira de Mello.Led by Mounir Bouchenaki, Assistant Director-General of UNESCO for Culture, it will include eight internationally renowned experts from Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the Netherlands. These specialists in museums, archives, libraries, historical monuments and archaeological sites will split into two groups for maximum effectiveness.The first group will concentrate on assessing the situation of museums, historic buildings, archives and libraries while the second is scheduled to visit archaeological sites to the north and south of Baghdad.
Reacting to early indications following today’s polling in Iraq, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan hailed the election’s success, urged national reconciliation and pledged the world body’s help in facilitating the country’s ongoing political transition.Mr. Annan lauded the bravery of the large numbers of Iraqis who exercised their right to vote despite significant attempts at violent disruption, as well as those who supported the process.“I wish to pay tribute to the courage of the Iraqi people, and to congratulate the Independent Election Commission of Iraq, as well as the thousands of Iraqi election workers and monitors, on having organized and carried out elections so effectively in such a limited timeframe and such daunting circumstances,” said the Secretary-General, who is currently in Abuja, Nigeria, where he attended an African summit earlier today.He also congratulated the UN Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) staff who, with other international electoral experts, worked to support the election. “Security forces, both Iraqi and international, also made a notable contribution to ensuring a relatively safe and secure environment,” he observed.“The success of the election augurs well for the transition process,” Mr. Annan declared.Today’s balloting paves the way for Iraq’s Transitional National Assembly to draft a permanent constitution which is expected to be put to a referendum in October.The Secretary-General said that process should be inclusive. “It is important to ensure that all individuals, groups and parties who, for whatever reason, were unable or unwilling to take part in the election are now brought into the constitution-making process,” he said. “This is a time for reconciliation on all sides,” he added, welcoming recent statements by a number of Iraqi political leaders indicating their willingness to support this process. For its part, the UN “stands ready to continue its electoral assistance, to facilitate vital outreach efforts, and, if invited, to assist the elected TNA in its work of drafting the constitution.”
Following on from developments in its Totally Integrated Automation (TIA) offering, Siemens Drive Technologies has announced a series of other product developments designed to help mineral processing plants increase operational efficiency, which cover Sinamics drives, Simogear geared motors and the Simotics XP range. Andrew Peters, divisional director for Siemens Drive Technologies, comments: “These comprehensive product enhancements offer significant benefits to our customers. They have all been designed to ensure plants can continue to increase operational efficiencies and represent our ongoing commitment to helping those in industry drive savings across their sites.”The Sinamics V20 inverter is a new single-axis drive for basic applications. The “compact and rugged inverter excels with short commissioning times, straightforward operation and high cost-effectiveness” says Siemens. The Sinamics V20 comes in four sizes to cover the performance range from 0.12 to 15 kW and is used to operate pumps, fans, compressors and conveyor systems, as well as for simple drive tasks in the processing and handling industry. Seamless integration with the newly launched version of the TIA Portal – Version 12 – from Siemens gives users the chance to commission and configure drives of the Sinamics G120 family efficiently using Sinamics Startdrive.Siemens has also expanded its range of Simogear geared motors to include two-stage worm geared motors as well as gearboxes with special input units for the installation of IEC standard motors – IE3-efficiency-class motors are now also available. The company is also adding new flameproof explosion-protected motors in efficiency class IE2 to its Simotics XP portfolio. The new 1MD5 motors enable pumps, fans, compressors and mixers to be operated safely in areas subject to explosive hazards, while at the same time saving more energy.In the Sinamics S120 converter series, the power limit of individual units has been increased from 1,500 kW to 1,700 kW. By means of parallel connection, powers of up to 6,460 kW can now be realised. This enables the efficient converters to cover an even wider range of applications. They are also ideally suited to applications with a high power requirement due to their compact design and innovative cooling concepts. The liquid-cooled converters are suitable for use in confined spaces, as for example in marine drives, and in harsh environments such as in mining.
Click here for larger image Click here for larger image Click here for larger image Click here for larger image Click here for larger imageThe bank’s PR team soon realised it was not the clever idea they had originally thought and now it’s “back to the drawing board” for them. Click here for larger image THE UNITED STATES’ biggest bank JP Morgan Chase was forced to cancel a Twitter Q&A planned for today after a rake of negative and markedly sarcastic tweets from the public using the hashtag #AskJPM.The bank announced the Q&A on its Twitter account yesterday:Jimmy Lee had worked on Twitter’s initial public offering which may be why they thought this would be a good idea.However the bank has been the subject of much controversy having been handed a whopping $30 billion in fines and legal costs over the last four years. Most recently the banking giant was fined a record $13 billion in a bid to settle an investigation into bad mortgage loans the bank sold before the financial crisis hit.The backlash on Twitter was merciless:Click here for larger image Click here for larger imageRead: Banking giant JP Morgan ‘fined $13 billion by US government’>Read: Promoters of Dublin student club night defend use of ‘C***’ stamp>
Marouane Fellaini celebrates his equaliser against Algeria. Source: Hassan Ammar/AP/Press Association ImagesOn Day 6THERE WERE WORRYING moments for football hipsters everywhere when World Cup ‘dark horses’ Belgium were given a real test by Algeria in Group H. Jan Vertonghen was penalised for a clumsy foul in the 25th minute and Sofiane Feghouli made no mistake from the spot.However, after much beard-stroking, second half goals from substitutes Marouane Fellaini and Dries Mertens were enough to give the Red Devils all three points and deny Algeria their first World Cup win since 1982. Algerian players celebrate after Sofiane Feghouli penalty. Source: Hassan Ammar/AP/Press Association ImagesThe evening’s big game featured the clash of Brazil and Mexico in Group A. As TheScore.ie‘s man in Brazil Mikey Stafford reported, the expectation of the inhabitants of the world’s fifth largest country seemed to weigh too heavily on the hosts as they floundered to a scoreless draw in the Estadio Castelao.The hero for Mexico was undoubtedly Guillermo Ochoa who pulled off a number of brilliant saves when called upon. The goalkeeper is out of contract at club level but with a few more performances like this he won’t be unemployed for long. Guillermo Ochoa keeps Brazil at bay. Source: Themba Hadebe/AP/Press Association ImagesWhile Mexico and Brazil at least had some excitement, the first half of Russia and South Korea is 45 minutes that nobody is ever getting back.However, just as the second half was shaping up to be something similar, Igor Akinfeev took his eyes off a Lee Keun-Ho speculative effort in the 68th minute to allow Korea take the lead in the Group H clash. That goal sparked the Russians into life and they were level five minutes later through Aleksandr Kerzhakov though neither side could manage a winner. Igor Akinfeev reacts after his mistake. Source: Adam Davy/EMPICS SportWinnerIt’s fair to say Marouane Fellaini didn’t have the best season with Manchester United. Indeed, with Louis van Gaal’s arrival at Old Trafford, the 26-year old’s club future is far from certain. Most worryingly for Fellaini, his downturn in form edged him to the fringes of the Belgian World Cup squad and he had to settle for a place on the bench in their opening encounter with Algeria.However, when called upon, the former Everton man delivered and his cushioned header – while facing the wrong way – proved to be the spark Marc Wilmots’ men needed to get back into the game and it wouldn’t be a huge surprise if he started ahead of Mousa Dembélé for Sunday’s clash with Russia. Fellaini heads his side back into the game. Source: Sergei Grits/AP/Press Association ImagesLoserFor the first time this tournament, the loser wasn’t within 5,000 miles of Brazil, rather he was sitting in the RTÉ studios in Dublin 4, completely unaware the broadcaster had returned from their ad break.But when Eamon Dunphy responded to Bill O’Herlihy’s question about Brazil poster boy Neymar with: “I thought he was fuckin’ dreadin’ it”, O’Herlihy’s reaction was enough to make him realise he’d done something very wrong indeed.The pundit apologised to viewers at half-time for any offence caused. Watch your language Eamon. Source: INPHO/Cathal NoonanJoga BonitoDries Mertens‘ 80th minute winner gets the shout for Tuesday’s best moment. The 27-Napoli attacker showed great composure to fire home on the counter-attack as Belgium became the sixth team to come from behind to win in this year’s tournament.http://vine.co/v/MI2u5HMAVOeWhat have we got to look forward to today?Spain get a chance to bounce back from their opening game defeat as they face Chile in what is realistically a must-win clash for the defending champions in Group B.In the day’s opening game, the Netherlands look to virtually guarantee qualification with a win over the Socceroos. Australia must avoid defeat to have any chance of advancing from the group stage for just the second time in their history.With Mexico and Brazil’s stalemate yesterday, a draw is no use to either Cameroon or Croatia when they meet in Group A in Manaus at 11pm.Lacklustre Brazil frustrated by the inspired form of Mexico goalkeeperGuillermo Ochoa just produced the best save of the World Cup so far
Dragon Age fans rejoice because today BioWare confirmed that Dragon Age 3 is very much in development and it’s called Dragon Age 3: Inquisition. The best thing about the game being announced? BioWare has also revealed the game will use the Frostbite 2 as seen in Battlefield 3 $5.99 at Amazon .Only a few details have been revealed about the game by executive producer of DA3, Mark Darrah, via DA2‘s official blog. The game has been in development for around two years already, but the majority of the work has taken place in the last 18 months. DA3′s team is a mix of series veterans (developers who worked on the original Dragon Age) and fresh blood, which hopefully means they’ll present a mixture of classic gameplay ideas as adding something new.Using the Frostbite 2 engine as a foundation means the team create a bigger world to play in, allow more customisation, better visuals, and a wider variety of game choices. Hopefully this means DA3 will not only be a much bigger, more involved game, but will look fantastic.If you remember, some info was leaked about DA3 a while back. An online survey gave away story details including the fact you play as the leader of “The Inquisition”–presumably that’s what DA3’s title refers to.According to that same survery, the story is set around a powerful empire named Orlais which is stuck in a civil war while a mysterious force attempts to control and destroy the world. None of that information was confirmed as true, but the resemblance between the title and the characters name is striking.We eagerly await more details about the game, but sadly it looks as if we’ll have to wait until late 2013 to play the game. That begs the questions: what platforms will it release on? And will any of them be next-gen?More at DA2‘s official blog and Official PlayStation UK
Manger moins de viande et de poisson pour préserver la planèteMonde – Selon les prévisions de l’ONU, les hommes seront environ 9 milliards à l’horizon 2050. Or aujourd’hui déjà, la surpêche vide les océans tandis que l’aquaculture et l’élevage polluent l’eau, les sols et l’atmosphère. Nous n’avons d’autre choix que de modifier nos habitudes alimentaires si nous voulons préserver notre planète… et vivre.Selon un récent rapport de l’Organisation des Nations unies pour l’agriculture et l’alimentation (FAO), la production de viande devrait doubler à l’horizon 2050 afin de répondre à la demande mondiale, atteignant alors 463 millions de tonnes.Dans les pays développés, ce sont quelque 80 kilos de viande par personne qui sont consommés chaque année. “Quand le revenu augmente, la consommation de produits carnés et laitiers fait de même : il n’y a pas un exemple contraire au monde” note Hervé Guyomard, directeur scientifique agriculture de l’Inra (Institut national de la recherche agronomique).Mais cette consommation croissante demande un élevage intensif qui a un impact considérable sur l’environnement : 8% de la consommation mondiale en eau, 18% des émissions de gaz à effet de serre et 37% du méthane émis par les activités humaines. A cela s’ajoute la nourriture végétale qui doit être produite pour nourrir des troupeaux de plus en plus grands. D’après le World Ressources Institute, plus d’un tiers de la production mondiale de céréales est utilisée pour nourrir le bétail (56% dans les pays riches).Consommer moins de viande s’avèrera donc nécessaire au cours des prochaines décennies, mais compenser avec le poisson n’est pas envisageable. Comme le souligne Philippe Cury, directeur de recherches à l’Institut de recherche pour le développement (IRD), le nombre de bateaux de pêche est déjà deux à trois fois supérieur aux capacités de reconstitution de la ressource marine. Si ce rythme se poursuit, c’est la totalité des espèces de poissons commerciales qui pourraient disparaître des océans d’ici à 2050. “Il va falloir apprendre à redescendre dans la chaîne alimentaire, sinon il n’y aura plus personne pour manger les espèces du dessous qui se mettent à proliférer, comme les méduses” avertit Gerry Leape, du Pew Environment Group.Concernant l’aquaculture, elle ne pourra pas se développer et devenir une alternative si ses pratiques très polluantes ne sont pas modifiées. L’aquaculture pose aussi le problème de la surconsommation : 4 kilos d’anchois ou de sardines sont nécessaires pour produire 1 kilo de saumon tandis que ce sont jusqu’à 14 kilos de poisson qui sont utilisés pour produire 1 kilo de thon.Le 28 février 2010 à 10:02 • Emmanuel Perrin
Related Items:#BahamasJunkanooCarnival, #magneticmedianews, #MPShaneGibson, #NassaulegofJunkanooCarnival Some foreigners angry by Junkanoo Carnival delay Recommended for you Photo Credit: Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppBahamas, May 8, 2017 – Nassau – The Nassau leg of Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival seems to have received much better support than in Grand Bahama. Minister of Labour and Golden Gates, MP Shane Gibson was on Facebook bragging about the turn out, but seemed to irk followers when he penned that ‘some haters are soooo disappointed.’ The ‘so’ was with five Os for emphasis. Comments directly to Gibson, ranged from agreement with the minister on the reaction to strong support of the third Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival, to invitations to come out and join the fun, to appreciation for the revenue the event is earning, to concern that there were many still wondering about getting a job to make ends meet, another suggesting the money could have been better used on something else and others who wanted to see the repairs promised since Hurricane Matthew complete. Gibson is the minister with responsibility for workers and was made the so called, hurricane czar, to oversee the clean up and restoration efforts including management of millions of public and donated dollars. #MagneticMediaNews#NassaulegofJunkanooCarnival#MPShaneGibson#BahamasJunkanooCarnival Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp
TCI Police Commissioner says absolute focus is reducing crime, gives some insight into the decreases recorded Recommended for you Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp New Gun Crimes unit under construction, says TCI Police Commissioner Related Items:#magneticmedianews, #rewardmoneytrustfund, #SeeSomethingSaySomething, crimestoppers Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppTurks and Caicos, August 4, 2017 – Providenciales – The Hotel and Tourism and Real Estate Associations have teamed up to create a trust fund which will offer cash rewards for information leading to the arrest and conviction of criminals who are increasingly becoming a major threat to the number one industry of the country, tourism. The trust will be established at Miller Simons O’Sullivan law firm and is going global in its efforts to draw monies in to flush criminals out of their hiding places.The initiative was announced today at a press conference held at the TCI Tourist Board.#MagneticMediaNews#rewardmoneytrustfund#crimestoppers#seesomethingsaysomething Editorial: Stop Likin’ Man!
Categories: Healthy Living, Local San Diego News FacebookTwitter 2018 San Diego walk to cure lupus KUSI Newsroom 00:00 00:00 spaceplay / pause qunload | stop ffullscreenshift + ←→slower / faster ↑↓volume mmute ←→seek . seek to previous 12… 6 seek to 10%, 20% … 60% XColor SettingsAaAaAaAaTextBackgroundOpacity SettingsTextOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundSemi-TransparentOpaqueTransparentFont SettingsSize||TypeSerif MonospaceSerifSans Serif MonospaceSans SerifCasualCursiveSmallCapsResetSave SettingsSAN DIEGO (KUSI)- The autoimmune disease lupus affects 1.5 million Americans. The chronic condition strikes mostly women of childbearing age but men, children, and teenagers develop lupus as well.A 5k walk is happening this Saturday at Liberty Station to raise money to help to help find a cure.Dr. Eric Wood, a naturopathic physician, joins KUSI’s Sandra Maas to tell us more. Updated: 10:50 PM Posted: November 29, 2018 November 29, 2018 KUSI Newsroom,
MOUNT VERNON — One of three people who ended up in the chilly Skagit River after a bridge collapsed in Washington state says she can’t swim and is crediting her husband with saving her life.Sally and Dan Sligh were driving across the Interstate 5 bridge Thursday when a semi-truck clipped a steel truss on the span, causing it to crumple. Their pickup truck plunged into the water, along with one other vehicle.“I don’t know what happened after that,” Sally Sligh told KING-TV “I just heard a ‘bong’ and hit my head and my hip.”She then heard her husband, Dan, asking if she was OK. “When I opened my eyes, we were in the water,” Sally Sligh said.Her side of the pickup truck started quickly filling with water. Her husband had a dislocated shoulder but still managed to help her to the driver’s side, pull her out of the truck and keep her calm.
Six U.S. senators and the U.S. Secretary of Energy traveled to Bethel Monday to hold a hearing on Alaska’s energy challenges and innovations. The team included the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, lead by Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski.But before the hearing, the group went on a field trip to see where those challenges and innovations intersect.The group, joined by Gov. Bill Walker and others, loaded in vehicles and drove five miles up the frozen Kuskokwim River to Oscarville, population 60.(Photo by Dean Swope/KYUK)Nearing the village, the first thing the group saw was a line of branches sticking out of the ice, and around them men are pike fishing. Then the group stepped inside the school. Elders greeted them, and students, wearing black and yellow kuspuks, danced and sang in Yup’ik. Later they performed Native games like the two-foot high kick and one-arm reach.“I was almost crying earlier. Like really too happy. Everybody’s here, and I just stopped myself. I never really thought there’d be lots of senators, the governor, and secretary of energy would be here in Oscarville,” Michael Stevens, Oscarville tribal administrator, said.He says he hopes the group’s visit jump-starts funding for basic necessitates like water, sewer, electricity, and housing. He says Oscarville uses rain and river water. Only the school has treated, running water. And all the residents use honeybuckets.For over a year, a group of Alaska agencies have been trying to bring those services Stevens mentioned to the village. They’re using the community as a pilot project to develop these services together rather than individually.One reason they chose Oscarville is because of the community’s strong local leaders and commitment to place. That is what the senators and secretary were seeing during their visit—in the subsistence pike fishing, the active elders, and Yup’ik dancing and games.Jackie Schaeffer is helping facilitate the pilot project and tells her hopes for the visit.“The goal would be for them to not only see the connection to place from the people and the culture but to see the challenges and how happy people are living here even with those challenges,” she said.Whether or not the group left with that understanding, U.S. Secretary of Energy Earnest Moniz says the trip was better than a day in the office.“You don’t get the same feel sitting in Washington [DC] and hearing this town doesn’t have water and we should do something,” he said.If the pilot project succeeds, Oscarville won’t be without water for long. The agencies are looking into drilling a 400-foot community well.
Andhra Pradesh high court has accepted house motion petition on demolition of Praja Vedika at Amaravati. Hearing to begin now. Though the Registrar of High Court asked petitioner Srinivas to move lunch motion petition, Srinivas said demolition process has begun so it has to be heard now.
Jacob Villanueva/iStockToday’s Texplainer question was inspired by reader Tiffany Adair.Hey, Texplainer: How do employment benefits for Texas educators compare to those in other states?This question has been a point of contention between lawmakers and educators for many years. Texas teachers say they’re frustrated due to a lack of state funding for public education. But lawmakers say the uncertainty surrounding the budget makes it hard to allocate better benefits for educators.If you look at the raw numbers, Texas ranked 27th in the nation for teacher pay in 2016, according to the National Education Association. On average, Texas teachers earned $51,890 — roughly $6,500 below the national average.However, teachers have long argued that inadequate funding for public schools cuts into their salaries. During the 2008 fiscal year, the state covered roughly 48.5 percent of the cost of public education, according to the Legislative Budget Board. By the 2019 fiscal year, that figure will be closer to 38 percent. Over the same period, teacher salaries remained about the same [Texas teachers, on average, earned roughly $47,000 in 2008].“One of the biggest costs to education are the teachers and other employees at a school district. That’s the biggest cost to the state,” said Clay Robison, a spokesman for the Texas State Teachers Association. “When you start cutting education in Texas, you’re shortchanging teachers. We’re already behind the national average when it comes to teacher pay, and we’re getting further behind.”But salaries aren’t the only component to consider when looking at how Texas teachers fare compared to their peers in other states, said Ed Allen with the American Federation of Teachers.“When looking at a nationwide comparison, most people factor in the salaries. But when teachers get older, what’s being paid into retirement and the health insurance becomes a really big deal,” Allen said.When it comes to health care benefits, advocates say Texas teachers are stuck in 2002. That’s when state lawmakers created the plan known as TRS-ActiveCare. The teacher health insurance program, which is run by the Teacher Retirement System of Texas, requires the state to contribute $75 per employee toward monthly health care premiums.Nearly 430,000 public school teachers and retirees are covered under the plan, which is used by many of the state’s 1,200-plus school districts. Since the program went into effect, employees’ share of premiums have more than doubled, while the state’s contribution to teacher’s health care has remained the same.“When your salary is barely going up year after year, health care costs are going up considerably and you’re not getting any additional money put toward those healthcare cost by your employer — which is the state in this case — then effectively you’re taking a year over year cut to your salary,” said Monty Exter, a lobbyist at the Association of Texas Professional Educators. Under the TRS-ActiveCare program, districts are also required to put a minimum of $150 per employee per month toward health insurance premiums, with the option of contributing more. But Exter said that can be difficult for districts as education budgets are squeezed. Joel Solomon, a senior policy analyst with the National Education Association, said it’s hard to compare Texas teacher health insurance programs to other states since the structure of such programs varies nationwide. But, he said, “when we look at educators’ health benefits around the country and how important … ensuring quality health benefits to educators are, what we see in Texas is deeply troubling.”When it comes to retirement funding, a majority of states pay into both a pension plan and Social Security. Texas is in the minority of states that only pay into a pension fund and does not pay into Social Security for the majority of its teachers — which means most Texas teachers won’t have access to Social Security benefits when they retire. Fewer than 50 of the state’s districts participate in Social Security on their own.Among states that only offer a pension plan for teachers, Texas is dead last when it comes to funding its pension programs — by a lot.For years, Texas only paid 6 percent — the constitutional minimum — into the Teacher Retirement System. It now pays 6.8 percent, according to the National Association of State Retirement Administrators. And the Texas Constitution says the state’s contributions to pension funds can’t eclipse 10 percent without a constitutional amendment approved by voters.“The next closest non-Social Security state had a retirement contribution rate at least double ours,” said Ann Fickel, the associate executive director of the Texas Classroom Teachers Association. The median contribution for the other 14 other states that don’t pay into Social Security for their teachers is around 18 percent, she added.“As retirees’ costs rise, especially for medical care, there will be pressure on lawmakers to find a way to increase benefits for retired teachers,” Fickel said.The bottom line: When it comes to teacher pay, Texas ranked 27th in the nation — right around the middle. But Texas is dead last in teacher retirement funding and puts a little more than the minimum into the Teacher Retirement System.Disclosure: The Texas State Teachers, the Association Association of Texas Professional Educators and the Texas Classroom Teachers Association have been financial supporters of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that is funded in part by donations from members, foundations and corporate sponsors. Financial supporters play no role in the Tribune’s journalism. Find a complete list of them here. Share
Stay on target The LEGO Batman Movie comes out this Friday and is most definitely something to be excited about. The LEGO Movie was one of the biggest surprises of 2014, with a great premise and an even better cast that left kids and adults wanting more. Three years later, we are getting a spin-off featuring the Batman from that movie, a version of the character who has all of his personality traits turned up to 11. If Kanye West were Batman, it probably wouldn’t be much different than the animated Batman played by Will Arnett. The movie looks to be taking cues from every previous depiction of the character, diving headfirst into the dark and convoluted lore of Batman and his Bat-Family. If all of the early reviews are to be believed, this movie is going to be just as big a hit as its brick-built predecessor. If you can’t wait until Friday, or have already seen it and need more, here are some comics that I recommend to fill the little Bat-shaped hole in your life.via DC ComicsWhile Will Arnett’s version of Batman may be incredibly self-centered, this movie doesn’t shy away from the extended Bat-family the way that almost every other modern screen depiction of the character has. Dick Grayson/Robin and Barbara Gordon/Batgirl play a huge role in the film, and what better way to celebrate that than by reading the amazing Batgirl: Year One and Robin: Year One, both of which were written by veteran comics writer Chuck Dixon. Cute, fun stories about the respective sidekicks, these stories take place in the first months of both of their crime-fighting careers. The two series have since been released as a single collected edition, which can be found online at Comixology.via DC ComicsEmbracing the more colorful elements of Batman as a character has been scarce lately, with DC choosing to focus on the more grounded, gritty versions of the character. Writer Scott Snyder and artist Greg Capullo broke this streak recently, in their Superheavy storyline, which found Jim Gordon operating as Batman during Bruce Wayne’s absence. A crazy, electric storyline which featured monsters, a Robocop-like Batman suit, and all of the quirks that came with Jim as Batman, Superheavy did not last long, but it will not be forgotten. The storyline was collected in volume 8 of Snyder and Capullo’s New 52 run on Batman, and it is available online.via DC ComicsAn anthology series, Superman/Batman, did an amazing job of taking the Caped Crusader out of his comfort zone as he went on adventures with the Man of Steel, as they faced off against every threat imaginable, and even some that were unimaginable. Running over 80 issues in the 2000’s, Superman/Batman was not always perfect, but it was almost always a nice change of pace for the characters. The series has since been collected and is available online.via DC ComicsBatgirl doesn’t get a lot of focus, and while the LEGO Batman Movie gives her a much bigger role in the lore of Batman, her role as a character in the DC Universe has been consistently underappreciated. One of the best runs on the character came recently from writers Cameron Stewart and Brenden K. Fletcher, as well as artist Bab Tarr for DC Comics’ New 52 line. Fun, cute, with plenty of motorcycle chases and butt kicking, the run only lasted for 17 issues before being rebooted in the DC Rebirth. The series has since been collected into three volumes which are available online.via DC ComicsYes, that is a caveman Batman. Grant Morrison’s Return of Bruce Wayne might tonally be very different from the LEGO Batman Movie, but both have a great understanding of the character and his mythos. Stranded in time by the villain known as Darkseid, The Return of Bruce Wayne follows Bruce as he must fight his way back through time in different Bat-costumes, even at one point being a Pilgrim during the Colonial era. A fun, action-packed romp that isn’t afraid to embrace the wackier Silver Age roots of the character, Return is a great read for anyone interested in the Bat-mythos. A six issue mini-series, Return has since been collected and is available online. DC’s ‘Batman Experience’ Pop-Up Exhibition Is Coming to SDCCFinally, Batman Gets a Hollywood Walk of Fame Star
Explore further Citation: Japan group tests fuel-saving driverless trucks (2013, March 4) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2013-03-japan-group-fuel-saving-driverless-trucks.html (Phys.org) —Japan’s New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) has tested a caravan of self driving trucks. They put four trucks on the road, with the first truck driven by a human, followed by three autonomous trucks. The caravan successfully used technologies for steering, for maintaining speed, and for staying in formation, at a speed of 80km/h with a four-meter distance between each truck. As for technologies involved in the run, the self-driving vehicles had to be able to detect obstacles in front of them, “see” white lines, and carry out inter-vehicle communications; also included was the unit that controlled the vehicles running in formation. According to reports, a milliwave radar and infrared laser radars were used to detect obstacles. Cameras and infrared laser radars helped the trucks recognize white lines. A wireless communication module and infrared communications module enabled inter-vehicle communication. Two printed-circuit boards were used for the control unit to maintain formation. The NEDO self-driving trucks will not be part of Japan’s transportation system any time soon. NEDO hopes to have a practical version of this automated driving system ready around 2020. More tests are scheduled for later this year. More information: e.nikkei.com/e/fr/tnks/Nni20130225D25JSN01.htmwww.houseofjapan.com/electroni … -trucks-in-formation Autonomous-driving Volvo convoy takes road in Spain NEDO was established as a semi-governmental organization in 1980 to promote new energy technologies. The group is described on its website as Japan’s largest public research and development management organization. The NEDO project has a number of participants that include Hino Motors, Mitsubishi Electric, Oki Electric Industry, NEC, Denso, the University of Tokyo and Nihon University. The February 2013 test run is part of a project that was started in 2008 by NEDO. The key goal of NEDO’s truck exercise has been to see what can be accomplished in fuel efficiency. They reported that drag decreased by keeping the trucks in a straight line and four meters apart. They said that running convoys of trucks in this manner could contribute to lower air resistance, helping to reduce fuel consumption by 15 percent or more. © 2013 Phys.org This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
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airberlin and Arvato open a new service centre for B2B servicesGermany’s second largest airline airberlin and Arvato AG, part of the Bertelsmann group, today jointly opened a new service centre in Berlin.Seventy agents with experience in the tourism sector will work here, processing requests from travel agents and sales partners in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.Together, the companies will in particular work to develop and expand innovative communication channels for airberlin’s B2B service. A live chat room for travel agencies was launched today as a pilot project on the airberlin online partner platform.Julio Rodriguez, Chief Commercial Officer at airberlin, said at the opening ceremony: “We consider it very important that airberlin offer sales partners and travel agencies excellent service, so that all queries to do with flights or the co-operation with airberlin can be dealt with quickly and efficiently. That’s why we continue to invest in the quality of our service. I am convinced that we have the right partner in Arvato – a partner that can support us with reliable, innovative solutions in communications with our partners”.“We are delighted to have won airberlin as a customer, and that the company will be relying on Arvato’s expertise both in traditional customer communications and in developing its contact channels and technological infrastructure for customer service”, Daniel Welzer, CEO of Arvato CRM Solutions Germany, emphasised. “Our team willconcentrate fully on providing the best possible service for airberlin’s partners and priority customers”, Welzer continued. Fly airberlinSource = airberlin